I’m So Grateful For This

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There are days where I feel lost, and have no idea what I’m going to write about.  In some instances I’ll start to worry that maybe it’s not meant to be this week.   That has only happened sparingly.  Worrying doesn’t accomplish anything.  I still do it knowing it has no benefits.  If that’s part of what keeps me going and motivating then that’s what I’ve created and is what I’m used to.

The positive contrary is relaxing, letting things come to you, being at peace, and being on with the universe, with myself, and everything.  I think I just repeated myself.

Leave it to Trader Joe’s to help with that peace.  The store that has brought me to so much joy way before writing about all this always comes through when needed, and when I’m not looking.

A few days ago another random visit (sometimes that’s how it is) brought me to my beloved store, and while scanning the tea section, I noticed something….

I’ve written a lot about them and for a split second felt like there was nothing left at this time.  At least in terms of the season.

But I didn’t sweat it.  What is the point in sweating any of this?  It’s not that serious even though I tend to make it as such.   The stories and my love of tea (and your love of anything) is about enjoying life and enjoying everything possible.    Putting yourself out there, while allowing entities to find you is the most beautiful thing.  And it happened again seconds later.

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Their seasonal kombucha aisle is perfect right now and perfect so many other right nows, and thens, and futures too.  The timing was perfect because I’m not sure how much longer the Organic Mango or the Pomegranate Hibiscus will be at a store near you.

Just like I feel I got in those holiday themed kombuchas down to the wire, I’m grateful to be sharing my thoughts with you on two that just echo what makes this Summer so great.

And some sweet treats never hurt either.

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The Organic Mango is so beautiful in all the beautiful ways.  It’s easy to drink, easy to look at, and easy to appreciate.  That color is gorgeous.  I sincerely mean easy to drink because some kombucha beverages may be too much for some.   The cultures, the probiotics, and the fermentation may be a combination that might be too harsh.

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This is anything but harsh, even though I haven’t had many I didn’t like.  I will say that at least for me, it takes time to drink this.  A bottle can last me a few days.  And it can last you a while too.  That’s the beaut of this.

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I seemed to get more of the mango taste then I did of the pomegranate but that’s reaching for a complain where they really shouldn’t be. The latter also radiates with such a beautiful color that you really can’t go wrong with either.  You can only do right by both.

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I had some fun here, pouring them into fancy teacups.  That was about all I needed for today, based on what I was saying earlier.  This is to be savored.

Savoring is what I did with charming cookies that don’t necessarily pair with said beverages, but it doesn’t matter.  Like I was saying earlier, this is fun, this is joyful, and it’s blissful.

Drinking savory tea and kombucha is one of those simple and heartwarming things that almost shields me from things.  It’s a source of protection, comfort, and a feeling of home.  I love happiness and this makes me happy.

At under $3, this is as affordable as you’re going to find, when comparing to similar beverages.

I’m so grateful about all of this.  All it took was a little faith, some trust in myself, the universe, and to feel good about things.   This means a lot now but as time goes by, the stories I first share with myself but then with close friends and an audience is going to feel timeless.

Yes I get sentimental while in the moment, but I can’t think of a better way to appreciate the moment.  I’m overstating the obvious but it’s one of many instances I must tell myself that things are ok.

It’s more than ok…

Stay healthy,

Ideen

From The Heart to the Soul

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Literally next door, and I mean literally next door, from where I spoke on last week, is another charming and I’ll say it, adorable spot in West Annapolis, Rutabaga Craft Juicery.

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I had no intentions of writing about this wonderful place, (here is their menu, some eco information, more about them, and their contact info) and that’s not meant in a disparaging way.  I just came for some cold-pressed juice, a smoothie, and some peace.

There’s plenty of places I walk into that I’ll never write about because either it doesn’t fit the context of what I’m saying, I like the break, or I just don’t think about.  I’ve been doing this for a while now, that I don’t always think about what to discuss or not discuss, without a little research, preparation, but my favorite is always the spontaneous.

As would be with Rutabaga…

West Annapolis is its own entity, its own island, and own universe within such a tiny and beautiful universe of Annapolis (my past posts on this wonderful place are here), that the joy just continues to compound.

With such a cozy space, it’s a blessing I had an outside table to myself.  I came around lunch hour, and while people were in and out, it once again felt like I was the only person on Earth.  That’s a good feeling, and while it may feel egocentric or narcissistic, it feels like peace to me.  And there’s more of where that I came from, and more at our disposal then we know.

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I went with the Berried (a blend of apple ,strawberry, blueberry raspberry, and banana maple chia) and it went down smooth, went down easy, and went down a little too fast.  The weather warranted it.  Which also means I could’ve used a glass of water or two.  I did get around to that eventually.

But as I was leaving, I noticed they had kombucha on tap and available for sampling.  Since I already bought a drink, I feel like I had some immunity and didn’t feel as greedy or as cheap by trying all three samples.

One stood out above the rest.

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The Green Garden from Federal Brewing Company based out of Federalsburg, MD, was one of the more refreshing kombucha’s I’ve had.  It was the perfect contrast to my fruit drink, that I loved trading a sip of each back and forth, while cleansing my palate of course.   Even without a sip of water in between, I got all the beautiful tastes and flavors from each.

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I honestly forgot what was in the Green Garden, but maybe I wasn’t supposed to know or remember.  I just knew it was great, and I would love to have some more.

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For the warmer climates, you can’t go wrong with either of these.  You can’t go wrong with supporting local business, and any chance to sit outside, be with nature, enjoy my surroundings, and enjoy not one, but two amazing beverages is something to be truly grateful for.

If you’re local to the area, and have not visited Rutabaga’s, I highly recommend it.  The staff is so friendly and accommodating. Many tourists will visit this summer, and because of its location it may be overlooked, but I wouldn’t.  It’s a gem among gems, among more gems.  While open for less than three years, it looks like it’s going to be a mainstay for years to come.  It’s another great reason to visit and love our state capital.

Have a good one, enjoy your day, and peace be with you.

Ideen

 

 

Festively Flavored

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I teased it last week and knew I was going to go back for a couple more from my old pals at Trader Joe’s.

When browsing their tea section, and looking for anything new I can get my hands on,  something told me to just walk around some more.  And when you’re at a store as captivating as Trader Joe’s, that’s not hard to do.

But after grabbing some free samples, at the corner of my eye in in the refrigerated beverage area, I spotted something new, something hopefully something inspiring, and most important of all, something perfect for the holiday, and the season.

They have recently introduced Kombucha to their already impressive repertoire of teas, and for that matter many of their food and drink products.   It was only a matter of time.  It never crossed my mind to think they would carry Kombucha until now.

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When I saw the two on display basically begging to be purchased, I didn’t hesitate one second.

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I will admit that when I saw the Gently Gingered Kombucha Tea, I thought it read Gently Gingerbread, which would be quite ambitious.  Could you in theory make gingerbread flavored Kombucha?  Of course you can.  But that’ll have to wait.   This is…

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This wasn’t good.  This is about as flat as a Kombucha I’ve ever had.  And it’s not that it was terrible.  Take out hoping that this would taste like the flavors of the season you love so much, it doesn’t take like much.

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If you’re not into fermented drinks, this is not where you want to go.  These are meant to be sipped, savored, appreciated, and and drank slowly like you would have a cup of tea.  But this was a struggle.   I usually save my Kombuchas for a while if they’re in protected packaging.  This is the first I’ve had in a can, and I don’t think that’s anything to really expound upon, other than the fact is I’m going to have a hard time wanting to drink this again.  But if was able to be sealed I may give it another chance.   And  you know what, I still might?

You taste ginger but it’s light, it’s lacking, and it’s missing the heart and soul I want from a tea and now the Kombucha I drink.   This was about $2-$2.50, so I wouldn’t dissuade you from not trying it.  You might love it.  But I would say proceed with caution.

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The Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s you see here and in the next display of sweet treats are mainly for display, as I still want to celebrate all the deliciousness that Trader Joe’s has to offer.

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All is forgiven and all is glorious, because their current offering, just in time for the holidays, the Organic Cranberry Spiced Apple Kombucha represents everything that’s right with the world, and that includes Christmas.  Especially Christmas and the holidays.

This makes me so happy.  The color tells one story, but the combination of cranberry juice, apple juice, and cinnamon within this black tea work-of-art is just what you want this month.  I would say you could have this year round.  Yes you can.

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Again, while this one is easy to drink, it’s one you take your time with.   The amount you see poured here is the amount I had.  Yet this one was kinder to my stomach , so you know the probiotics are working! I can’t rave about this one enough.   And at a little under $3, it’s worth splurging a bit on this.

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Can’t forget those Peppermint Joe Joe’s.  Again, this is not really a pairing but more so an homage to all the joys of this holiday.

This will not be it for Trader Joe’s, as my history has shown, I will always be on the lookout for whatever awesome item they will introduce next.  Just when I think I’ve done it all, I know I never will, nor do I want to.

This is a journey, it’s a marathon, and anything but a race.  It’s not a race against time or anything else.  Though the holidays may feel like all of the above and then some, it’s about enjoying all the moments you can, with amazing food, drink, and of course the people.   We’ve got a lot holiday left and I look forward to what’s next.

Peace Be With You.

Ideen

 

Embracing Everything

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I thought my experience with Mother Kombucha would be a one and done.  Well that isn’t entirely accurate.  After this incredible experience last week, I thought the next time I’d sample and sip this fermented goodness would be the next time I return, which I’m tentatively thinking will be in the next couple of months.

Yes so this looks like this will be a trilogy, at least.  And I just love how this came together.

On my next to last day in beautiful Downtown St. Petersburg, I went for a run, because it’s beautiful out, it’s sunny, it’s glorious, and even though I was there for some rain, most of that held off and I could appreciate and embrace this new place that seems to embrace everyone in kind.  At least that’s how I felt.

And when I meant run, that means stop and appreciate how charming this location is.   I did a lot of walking, a lot of taking pictures, and enjoyed many of the sights, the sounds, and all this incredible energy I was feeling in and around downtown.

I had no length of time for how long this little mini journey would go.  Vacation is not about planning and having everything be formulaic.  It’s about organically experiencing all there is to experience.

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And without forcing the issue, it happened once again.   I ended up in this oasis, where everything around me is beautiful to begin with.  But the Saturday Morning Market in Williams Park is one of those most glorious things I’ve ever experienced.  Yes I just said that a farmers market was as amazing an event or occurrence I’ve had the privilege of being a part of.  It’s the littlest things that are the biggest things, that resonate with me forever.

I took my time, appreciated the food vendors, the fresh fruits and veggies, the small businesses, and wouldn’t you know it, a whole host of tea vendors.  I could do at least two more posts from here, and I may get around to them.  But after a few minutes, the most inviting of booths was that of Mother Kombucha.

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I must reiterate how beautiful this park and market is.  Everyone seemed so happy.

We were meant to be meet again, attracting one another like magnets.  Life is funny and comforting that way.

The girl working the table could not have been nicer.   They had kombucha on tap and plenty of promos to sell and to giveaway.   I did take some pictures but most of all I got the Goji Grape, which is on par, with the Lavender Mojito from last week.

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If that sounds like a cop out or I can’t make up my mind, then fair enough.  But how do you compare two amazing flavors that are on another level from drinking your standard soft drinks with toxic additives and other substances no one should be touching?   I appreciate what I’m drinking for what it is.

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It’s something natural, healthy, organic, designed for us yet it comes from a place much bigger than us.

When it comes to Mother Kombucha, I don’t know what else to say.  Maybe nothing else needs to be to said.

And being in such a warm environment, yet not knowing anyone (recurring theme on this trip) felt good.  People at the market all seemed to know each other and a few folks nodded and said hello to me, like I was a regular fellow and one of them.  It’s that hospitality of the south and I felt even a different kind on the Gulf Coast.

It was all so beautiful and natural.  Yes I was on vacation, yet I felt like I belonged here.

Then after all this romanticizing, the rain came.  And it kept coming.  Yet it felt like it was only coming down at the market and no where else.  Across the street seemed sunny and as clear as day.

Maybe the universe was telling me something, telling us something, and what that is not quite clear.   Maybe I will figure that out when it comes to complete the trilogy.

And I say that with the understanding that I’ve been invited to check out the facility the next time I’m back.  It would be my honor and I look forward to making my return to a place that feels like home to me.

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I’ll see you soon St. Pete and I’ll see you soon Mother Kombucha.

For more on Mother Kombucha, click here for their story, their brew list,  where you can buy, and their contact info.

The Saturday Morning Market runs till August 26th, so if you’re in the area, I encourage you to support everything this beautiful space has to offer.

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To be continued, when is to be determined…

Thanks so much,

Ideen

 

 

This IS Living Tea.

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I didn’t know when or how I would write about Mother Kombucha, but it needed to happen now and the universe told me that today was the day.  Actually I had intended this after my kombucha post last week. So you can call this a segue or a continuation but I just call this a celebration of some of the best beverages Mother Nature has ever provided.  That wording was intentional by the way.

Nearly two months after visiting the great city of St. Petersburg, FL. I recall fondly how gorgeous, spacious, and welcoming Central Avenue was.  While visiting a friend who lived on that street, and meeting with friends throughout the week, I still had plenty of time to myself and to do my own thing.

There were hardly any plans (here is my tea history in the sunshine state thus far), other than knowing that I would love to try some tea, try something new, and try something fun, and then try some more tea.  I love going in blind and going in open-minded and seeing where life takes me.

I can’t say it enough, the tea culture and lifestyle on the Gulf Coast give me goose bumps.  It’s something truly special that I only hope to experience either back in Florida or somewhere just as breathtaking.

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Well what would you know, that this amazing coffee shop (which does have great coffee by the way) Intermezzo, which is footsteps away from where one of my closest friends now resides, would be where I discovered the Mother of all kombuchas.  Yes I could do this all day…

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I walked in on a gorgeous and supremely sunny day to this cozy and charming space not knowing what to expect.  When I walk into a coffee shop my curious mind always wonders about the tea list.  Now many also have their own loose leaf tea, or might carry a few standard label tea bags (which are perfectly fine by the way), maybe some more lavish brands of tea, or in this case the Lavender Mojito, which to say is incredible is a severe understatement.

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Before I could even let my the friendly server behind the counter finish her suggestions, like a boisterous child ordered the Lavender Mojito without any hesitation.

Thanks to my new friend (I humbly apologize for not remembering her name) she allowed me to take pictures of the inside, and enjoy my this iconic beverage outside on a peaceful day. While many others are working, I’m on vacation, so it was an early afternoon, it was a tad lonely, but in the same way it was needed peace and time to reflect.  If it weren’t for this blog I would hardly share this with anyone.

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There were no check-ins, no pictures, and no hints at the time that I was here.  And that’s just the way I wanted it.   I took my few pictures (or so I thought), and then I stopped. Because sipping something like this, being in your own universe, being around the sun, around random people saying hello, and enjoying my own company lies a feeling that everything is going to be ok.  It’s not just one of those things you have to believe, it’s one of those things you should believe.

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The thoughts going through my head were different than what I would feel at home.  I can’t explain it, I can hardly remember even what I was thinking about.  I did recall my tea was unbelievable.  It’s one of the easier ones I’ve ever had, and I would be saying this even if I had this on a regular basis at home.  But I rather make this larger-than-life, because it was.

The ingredients and information are presented to you below but all I can say is that if you live in a place nearby that sells this, do yourself a favor and grab yourself as much as you can.  That flavor, that color, that bottle, that label, oh my god.  What else needs to be said?  It’s ecstasy in a bottle.

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And the funny thing about being in your own ecstasy, I was the only one outside so for a while it felt like I was the only person on Earth.  After a while I noticed while taking photos a group of people drawing closer and closer to my location.   Then I noticed they all wore the same attire.  I don’t even remember who they were with or what they were about.  I hope someone can remind me.   But as they came near, if this were a bad movie or tv show the first thought would be to run.  However, this group was about spreading love, kindness, and hugs all around.  I got a bunch of hugs from people I’ve never met in my life and who knows if I will ever see again.  But it didn’t matter.  I was alone but I wasn’t, then I was alone again.  But I wasn’t lonely.  I felt good.   I took enough pictures that it may look like a flip-book or slide show for your enjoyment.

To say this made my Lavender Mojto Kombucha that much better would be one of those fabled understatements.

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After a little while I felt like it was the right time to go.  I’m grateful to Intermezzo for everything, and for letting me keep the bottle.

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I’m grateful for this experience, which will never happen this organically again.  It’ll have to be something else.  And that’s what makes this so beautiful.  This will continue next week, as this was not my only encounter with the Mother.

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Where I was staying was minutes from their headquarters, but they’re not open to the public for tours, as far as I know.  But I did get a picture anyways.  This is how I play tourist.

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But what I’ll get into next week is how a day after this awe-inspiring experience, was one at the Saturday Morning Market in Williams Park that I’ll only say is comparable in stature but how it comes out in my words will convey if it was just as awesome, or magical for other reasons.  I can’t wait to reminisce.  I had another dynamic flavor that I’ll leave as a teaser for you below.

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For more on Mother Kombucha, here is their story, where you can find their product, and their contact information.

This was beautiful.  More next week.  Thank you so much.

Ideen

This Culture Is My Friend

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Of course the culture I’m referring is the probiotics and all the goodness found in the Master Brew Kombucha by Kevita.

What else would I be talking about?

I have a few people to thank for getting me into Kombucha, and it has enhanced and expanded my horizons, and given me some more content for this blog.  And I’m all for new stories (here are my previous write-ups on Kombucha) and experiences

My mind was set on writing about this amazing beverage, but with which brand and with with flavor(s) was to be determined.  Even when I have some semblance of a plan, I rather still keep it fresh and as meaningful as possible.

So in browsing the natural and organic aisles of my local supermarket, I noticed the list of companies making Kombucha is rapidly expanding.  I’ve even met some folks that are in the process of brewing themselves.  That might be a topic for another time but let me not lose focus.

I had seen Kevita in many grocery store refrigerators, and paid it plenty of mind.  It’s been in head to sample a couple of there Master Brew’s to see if they’re in fact masterful.

For this post I decided to make it a two for one and try two of the more summery flavors. We still got a long season to go ladies and gents so I want to make the most of it.

First up is the Pineapple Peach.  Seriously, does it get any better?  It’s quite possible, no. Now many of us have had fruit cocktails or fruit punch drinks that tend to mix one or more fruits too many.  And that’s drinking unnatural and products likely high in sugar, among other nasty additives.  And with all that sometimes these big companies still tend to mess up something so simple.  Not here.

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This was awesome.  And this is one of those kombucha drinks that if you’re not careful, you can finish off rather quickly.  I’m of the belief that these drinks are meant to be savored, not chugged and rushed through.  My body is still getting used to drinking this, so I believe in taking it slow as it gets adjusted to change.  That’s just an opinion and observation I’m making for myself.  You may think and feel different, and that’s what makes this tea and kombucha journey so exciting.

Pineapple and peach were merged together to create something so colorful, so delightful, and so invigorating.  I had about half of my bottle.  The other half I will enjoy soon.  But I want to appreciate the beautiful color and texture of this Master Brew.   Seriously, isn’t this so radiant?

Kombucha can go with anything but sometimes I like to have it with nothing.  This time I had it (again slowly) with a couple of equally fruitful and powerful health bars, perhaps you heard of them.  Yes Larabar is awesome too.

Next up was the Raspberry Lemon.  This tasted more like what you’d expect from a kombucha.  It’s not as easy to drink in my opinion.  And while I still thought it was alright, it’s nowhere near the Pineapple Peach.  Some going are going to love it, but this is one that took a little more time for me.  And in a way that’s a major point of this.  It’s not supposed to be rushed, but something about this flavor combination didn’t hit me like the first one.  And that’s quite ok.

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This was more for display, but you can see the Raspberry Lemon is paired with purple heirloom chips.  The Larabar’s is what I truly feasted on.  They’re so yummy.

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Since the kombucha thing is still so new to me, I want to revisit Kevita much sooner rather than later.  They have a plethora of flavors I want to try, and there’s no time like anytime, or something.

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Kevita is easily accessible in your area and here’s the link to find it near you.

Here’s a little local culture for you, and the live stuff too.

This is all good stuff.  Culture can be your friend, and this is one instance where it absolutely is.  I’d love to go it again.

Come to think of it, there will be likely be more kombucha next week from a different source, and source energy.  And I’m so excited.

Thanks so much.

Ideen

 

 

 

 

Always Go With Your…

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I hadn’t even thought to do a post related to Earth Day.  This may or may not be it.  But I’m going to go with it.  There’s so much good to write about HEX Ferments that I didn’t know where to begin.  But I did go with my gut (hmm…) in more ways than one and the results were glorious, beauteous, and illustrious.

Whenever I have the opportunity to talk about a local business, it’s a blessing, it’s a joy, and it’s a one of the main reasons I do what I do.  I love local and to me it’s the soul, the conscience, and backbone of society.  It’s truly of the most authentic things we have in a world that may be running out of that authenticity.

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So another couple of visits to Belvedere Square Market, where HEX is located, left me never any doubt I was going to try their Kombucha and try I did.

I ask myself this question after having something so amazing.  Why did it take me so long?  Well there’s no answers.  There’s so many uncovered gems in the world of tea, and the world of anything for that matter, that I haven’t tried them all.  But that’s the joy of the journey.

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No I didn’t try all their Kombucha’s, but I did get to have two.  Yes, the two pictured above.  And these two are something I’m going to savor for a long time.  And even for the short time as they’re both still sitting in the refrigerator staying fresh because that’s how Kombucha works.

Fortunately, I had a friend for the first visit to help with suggestions on what to try.  We had different ideas which led me to wanting to have what they had the second time.  And that’s exactly what happened.

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First, the Basil Jasmine.  This was a seasonal item that is no longer well, in season.  But I still have some.  And even though it’s a little bit past best by drinking date, it’s still magnificent.  And it’s the one that’s easier to savor and drink slower.  Because of that, I gave this the wine treatment.  Yes that’s right.   The bottles by the way are $15, yet $5 of that is refundable if you bring it back.  And yes that goes towards another Kombucha. This is beautiful stuff I know.  And that’s the stuff of Earth Day lore and living that I love so much.  And speaking of beautiful, yes this Basil Jasmine is giving me goose bumps as I write about it.

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That golden honey color is mesmerizing.

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I can’t put into words how amazing this is.  I said ‘is’ because I want hold on to this as long as I can.  I don’t know when it’s coming back.  Well yeah I did, most likely next Spring.  This is no sipping tea.  It’s something to take your time with.  Is it the honey, the basil, the Kombucha Culture, or the cane sugar.  I just reeled off everything.  It might be all of the above.  But all of the above is absolutely awesome.   I just wish it was still available for you to try.

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Now comes the Butterfly Lime, which is always available.    This one, which is easier drink quickly, is wonderful as well.  For simply savoring reasons I’d give the edge to the Basil Jasmine, but this no knock on the Butterfly Lime.  I mean look at the purple?  This looks picturesque in any setting.  How did they make this look so good?  This is art, and it’s art to drink.   The butterfly pea flower tea and lime juice combination makes the perfect sense, yet I don’t know how it does.  And maybe I don’t need to know.  This one is always available yet I still have mine to savor and drink over time.  Honestly, I’m craving both right now.  They’re so close yet so far.   My mouth is watering.

One detail I must mention with both of these bottles is when you first unseal them, there is a fog or a steam that emanates upon first opening.  To me, this is even more exciting than popping open a bottle of champagne.  And I tried my best to capture a picture of this.  Maybe it’s the kombucha culture?  Maybe it’s the all natural ingredients opening up in celebratory fashion?  Yay nevertheless.

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If you live in and around Baltimore, I highly suggest coming to Belvedere Square Market (here is another post I made from this heralded market) to find HEX Ferments easily visible in the right in the middle of the market, nestled in the back.  It’s worth what may seem like a hefty cost.  But it’s really not.   And you can get a class of any of their goods for $6.  Oh and they have other goods!

HexButterfly2

If you’re interested in finding them elsewhere, this link might be a friend to you.

For anyone with digestive issues these beverages are also a friend.

And here’s there list of Frequently Asked Questions you might have.   And finally here is their contact information.

This is only the beginning.  I need to come back here and soon.  HEX deserves all the praise in the world you can heap or anyone or anything.  I sincerely mean that.

Let’s do it again soon.  It’s Spring, so soon is highly possible.

Best,

Ideen